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Work in New Zealand

Country flag: New Zealand

With its rising economy, low living costs, in demand occupations and high standards of living working in New Zealand could be a smart choice for job-seeking graduates

Fortunately, New Zealand's job market has been steadily on the rise since the global financial crisis, and this looks set to continue. Such statistics spell exciting opportunities for those looking to take their job hunt to the country.

Job market

The success of your job hunt will rely on the sector you're looking to work in. Those with expertise in the IT, engineering and medicine industries are in demand; however there are also opportunities to contribute more generalist skills.

Because of competition for jobs, it's not uncommon for international job hunters to accept more junior positions in order to gain experience of working in New Zealand.

Don't limit your options by ruling out contract or part-time work - this can sometimes lead to permanent employment.

Long-term and immediate skill shortages are listed on Immigration New Zealand , and include jobs within the following industries:

  • agriculture and forestry; 
  • construction;
  • education;
  • engineering;
  • finance;
  • health and social services; 
  • IT and electronics;
  • oil and gas;
  • recreation, hospitality and tourism;
  • science.

Particularly string jobs growth is expected in the Auckland and Canterbury areas 

Job vacancies

Search for jobs in New Zealand at:

You can also get in touch with the following recruiters in New Zealand, who may be able to aid your job search:

Teaching in New Zealand

There is tough competition for positions in New Zealand, with the majority of teachers coming from countries such as England, Canada and America.

Gaining a position is dependent on your previous teaching experience and qualifications. You will usually require a Bachelors degree, plus a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate.

Upon arrival in New Zealand, teachers must register with the New Zealand Teacher's Council in order for your qualifications to be assessed by the country's Qualifications Authority.

Popular places in New Zealand for those who want to teach include:

  • Auckland;
  • Christchurch;
  • Queenstown;
  • Wellington.

To start searching for a teaching job in New Zealand, visit Teach New Zealand .

Internships and work experience in New Zealand

Work placements and internships have a number of advantages. They obviously help build up your skills and experience but they also provide you with relevant contacts, who could then help you get a permanent job.

Good places to start searching for work experience include:

Speaking to companies directly is also a proven way of finding non-advertised opportunities.

Volunteering in New Zealand

There are a large number of voluntary agencies throughout New Zealand.

You can search for opportunities by type and location at Volunteering New Zealand .

Language requirements

New Zealand's three official languages are English, Maori and New Zealand Sign Language.

Most business is done in English, and most organisations require competency in spoken and written English.

New Zealand visas and immigration

There are several visa options available if you want to live in New Zealand, either permanently or temporarily, and these are explained in more depth at Immigration New Zealand .

One such permanent option is the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) for those who have the skills, qualifications and experience New Zealand needs.

To be eligible for residence under SMC you must be:

  • 55 or under;
  • healthy;
  • of good character;
  • speak English.

When considering applicants Immigration New Zealand uses a points system. You get points for age, experience, employability and qualifications.

Other options include Work to Residence and Residence from Work.

Temporary work visas are available for people who:

  • have a job offer from a New Zealand employer;
  • are going to the country for a particular purpose or event;
  • want to gain work experience or work after studying in New Zealand;
  • want to join a partner.

How to explain your UK qualifications to employers

Employers usually understand UK qualifications as the New Zealand education system is based on England's framework, but you will need to clarify that this is the case before submitting your application.

Trade certificates, diplomas, bachelor degrees and postgraduate qualifications are all acknowledged.

Working conditions

Average working hours in New Zealand are typically between 37 and 40 hours a week across five days.

The average salary is around $55,000 and the minimum wage is $14.25 per hour.

Holiday entitlement is generous by international standards, which is good know when you have a new country to explore. Workers are entitled to at least four weeks annual leave and New Zealand has 11 public holidays.

Income tax and Goods and Services Tax (GST) is how New Zealand fund services for the benefit of all residents, and your salary in New Zealand is subject to income tax whether you are considered a resident or are simply in the country temporarily.

Personal income tax is calculated as below:

  • 33% from $70,000;
  • 30%: $48,001 to $70,000;
  • 17.5%: $14,001 to $48,000;
  • 10.5%: $0 to $14,000.

For more information on taxes visit New Zealand Now - Taxes .

The standard of living in New Zealand is considered to be high, while the cost of living is relatively low compared to prices in countries including Australia and the UK.


Further information

Written by Editor, Prospects
April 2015

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